The Role of Christ in Transhumanism

Jesus exemplified servant leadership. He invited his disciples to follow his example of service and sacrifice. This commitment to emulate the highest virtues of which we can conceive and seek after godliness aligns well with the transhumanist commitment to overcome human shortcomings.

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
John 13:34-35

Jesus Christ as Savior and Redeemer

Jesus Christ is the central figure in Christianity. He is revered not only for what he taught, but also for his role in saving humanity and in helping us to achieve the full measure of our potential as children of God. Christians, including Mormons, believe that Jesus was more than just a great moral teacher; he was the son of God, and savior and redeemer of humanity. He is the savior and redeemer because he saves humanity from death and sin so that we can join God in perfect, maximal unity. To find ourselves in a position to one day be fully unified with God is a gift of grace.

portrait of Joseph Smith
A person filled with the love of God is not content with blessing their family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race.
Joseph Smith

The Title ‘Christ’ and His Invitation

Christ is a title that means the anointed—someone set apart for a special purpose. "Christ" is an honorific title, not a surname. We use it because we recognize Jesus as someone set apart with a special purpose: to overcome all obstacles that stand between humanity and God. Mormon ritual also includes an anointing, a process whereby faithful participants are explicitly reminded of their potential to progressively become like God.

portrait of Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf
That is what He did during His mortal life; it is what He would be doing if He were living among us today; and it is what we should be doing as His disciples and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As we emulate His perfect example, our hands can become His hands; our eyes, His eyes; our heart, His heart.
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Jesus invited his followers to take on the name Christ—his title and his role. Christian disciples set themselves apart for the purpose of participating in Christ’s work and mission. We do this as we work together to overcome obstacles that stand between humanity and God. This may be as simple as befriending a neighbor, learning CPR, or saying “I’m sorry.” It may also include improving treatments for diseases, expanding our moral vision, or ethically extending technological or biological abilities to alleviate suffering, increase sustainability, and extend life. These are all central aims of transhumanism.

The Role of Christ in Transhumanism

But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.
Moroni 7:13

As Christians and as transhumanists, we take Christ’s invitation seriously and avoid artificially limiting our role in that work. Transhumanism is the ethical use of science and technology to expand human abilities and minimize suffering. The role of Christ—the role he plays as savior and redeemer and the role he asks us to share with him—in transhumanism is to work toward the best, most ethical outcomes. In other words: to join God and help others do the same. This includes practical work to care for the poor and needy, to lift each other with grace, and ultimately to overcome death and sin. This work did not end with Jesus, and will not end until all obstacles that stand between humanity and God are overcome. This means that the role of Christ is something that can be emulated not just by religious Christians but by non-Christians and even secular people.

portrait of C.S. Lewis
If anyone swear by Tash and keep their oath for the oath’s sake, it is by me that they have truly sworn, though they know it not, and it is I who reward them. And if anyone do a cruelty in my name, then, though they say the name Aslan, it is Tash whom they serve and by Tash their deed is accepted.
C.S. Lewis
The Last Battle

Discussion Questions:

  • How do the aims of transhumanism overlap and align with the aims of Christ?
  • What are the benefits/dangers of assuming/neglecting responsibilities to take on the mission and role of Christ?
  • How do you interpret John 14:12? What does it mean to “do even greater things” than Jesus did?
  • What does it mean to you to take on the name of Christ?
  • Where do you draw the line between Jesus’s role in overcoming death and sin and our own role?
  • What are the benefits/dangers of bringing transhumanism and the work of Christian discipleship (including the work of Christ himself) into conversation?
  • How might one strive to emulate Christ in a non-religious sense?